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Mum who revels in health issues now possibly ill - I just need to talk about this ....REVISITED

(19 Posts)
emptywinebox Tue 16-Dec-14 10:47:00

Apologies, this is going to be a long one. Firstly I'll post about what happened yesterday and then the background as it is all relevant.

My Mum came to visit yesterday to drop off our Xmas presents and so I could give her her presents.
DP, the DC and I are going away for Xmas with the ILs so I won't see her until after Xmas (possibly after New Year).

As soon as she came in and sat down she told me that weeks ago (possibly as long as 2 months ago I can't remember exactly) she passed some blood rectally, a one-off that hasn't recurred. She went to the GP about it at the time, they referred her to a consultant and they were referring her for an appt where they would investigate with a camera. She had an appointment through 2 days ago for 2 weeks time (the day before we get back from our holiday with the ILs).

Now, bearing in mind (as the thread title says) my mum does tend to revel in health issues and almost sounds a bit excited at times that there might be something wrong I did think to myself "here we go again" (sounds horrible I know but theres a background history -please look at the link of my old thread below before berating me ).

Obviously I'm now worried but the more I thought about this last night the more it annoyed me as to why she has told me this now, when we're about to go away for Xmas. This bleed happened 4-8 weeks ago I think so why did she not tell me then? Or when she saw the GP? Or when she saw the consultant? Or even, why didn't she wait until we're back and she's had the hospital appt (the day before we come home) because until then she knows no more than she did weeks ago when she didn't tell me because she "didn't want to worry me"? She's held on to this until a couple of days before we leave and chooses to tell me now.

Oh and the other thing that annoyed me was it wasn't until she was walking out of the front door to go home that she casually mentioned that she'd recently had a test for bowel cancer that was clear so it probably isn't that. Should that not be one of the first things she should have told me after she told me about blood loss etc instead of leaving me thinking "bowel cancer".

Anyway last night I looked up an old thread of mine on here that I started a couple of years ago when she had an irregular mammogram ......Mum who revels in health issues.
What immediately jumped out, that I'd forgotten about, was that that episode was just before Xmas 2 years ago when we were about to spend Xmas with the ILs (we alternate between ILs and my Mum). Coincidence?

My opening post in that link is worth a read for more info if you haven't drifted off by now.

As I said in my last thread I know it makes me sound like a bitch but god she's hard work. Is it because of this that I'm reading too much into her timing of telling me and her almost forgetting to mention the clear bowel cancer test?

CMOTDibbler Tue 16-Dec-14 11:18:29

I think that it sounds more than a co-incidence that she has chosen to tell you this just before you go away, when she had the same sort of thing 2 years ago.

A one off, fresh blood, is probably piles, but obv they always check.

emptywinebox Tue 16-Dec-14 11:42:41

Thank you CMOTDibbler. It's got to be more than a coincidence hasn't it?

The thing is we have her to stay every other Xmas and she sees my brother and his family the alternate years so she never has Xmas on her own.

Mind you, my brothers FIL (as in his wife's Dad) is not at all well at the moment (in hospital post-major surgery that hasn't gone too well) so they've got that to deal with. Wonder if she's worried she'll be overlooked?

Mrscog Tue 16-Dec-14 11:48:38

She sounds like hard work and like she wants some attention. I think the best course of action, given that it doesn't sound that serious is to just be kind but basically ignore. She needs to learn that these 'stunts' don't work.

AMumInScotland Tue 16-Dec-14 12:16:35

You don't sound remotely like a bitch. She has quite deliberately chosen to tell you now, just before you go away for Christmas, so that she will be in the forefront of your mind over the festivities.

She had choices on when to tell you, and picked her moment!

emptywinebox Tue 16-Dec-14 12:28:00

It's so odd.

If you met her she comes across as a quiet, simple person. If you ask her if she wants tea or coffee it's always "whatever you're making", even when I say "I can make either what do you want?" and push her to say what she wants she'll still say "whatever you're having/making". It's like she doesn't want to put anyone out by expressing a preference but has to make a point of it.

Every time she phones she always starts the conversation with something along the lines of " I didn't know if now was a good time to call because you might be cooking dinner/putting the DC to bed/you're always busy. I never know when is a good time" etc despite me always saying "just phone when you want to and if we really are too busy to answer the phone then we won't answer it and you can either leave a message or try again later".

Oh god, I could go on forever . This is like therapy. However I must go to work.

Thanks for your views so far everyone. I'll come back to the thread tonight.

Optimistletoe1 Tue 16-Dec-14 13:05:48

I think you're entirely justified in doubting the seriousness/veracity of her revelation, especially given the timing of her breast cancer scare. I know two people who play those sort of games - both are men who when their wives are (genuinely) ill or about to go on holiday without them come down with quite vague but worrying symptoms. Attention-seeking of the most callous kind, since they inflict anxiety on their wives as well as gaining the spotlight.

At the back of your mind there's obviously the niggling thought that this time it might be for real, but spoiling your holiday isn't going to change the prognosis.

Lastly, I think I'm right in saying that if there was concern that whatever ails her could be serious or life-threatening she would have been called for the exploratory exam a whole lot quicker than she has been. Someone with more knowledge will be able to confirm or deny this.

MonstrousRatbag Tue 16-Dec-14 13:24:16

She has quite deliberately chosen to tell you now, just before you go away for Christmas, so that she will be in the forefront of your mind over the festivities.

It may well not be conscious though. My mother has her own brand of needy difficult behaviour, not related to health. She also lacks the ability to be honest and analytical about her own feelings and motivations to a surprising degree. So when you pull her up about things her angry denials are often quite real.

All you can do is try your hardest to put the referral, and your mother's timing and motivation, to the back of your mind until you get back from your break. And I suppose, be careful not to give too much reaction when you are told the latest health scare. Stay pragmatic rather than emotional. My older sister is like this and tolerates our mother's shenanigans much better than me as a result.

AMumInScotland Tue 16-Dec-14 14:19:22

Oh I can't abide the 'not wanting to be any trouble' brigade, they can turn the simplest decision into a need for repeated validation. You have to tell them, over and over again, that it really isn't any trouble, whereas them just saying "Tea would be lovely thanks" would have the whole thing dealt with without any fuss or bother on either side.

And she wants you to tell her that she is more important than anything else that you could possibly have been doing when she called. She probably doesn't think much of your (honest and not unkind) assertion that you would just ignore it so she shouldn't worry. The fact is, she's not worried that she is actually disturbing you, she wants to be reassured that she is more important than the other possibilities, and that you don't mind when she disturbs you.

DeWee Tue 16-Dec-14 16:08:26

This is reminding me slightly of my dgran.

Whenever we went on holiday she would try and disrupt it in some ways. I think the funniest is when she locked herself out the house the day before. She wanted us to drive (300 miles) to her house to use the key df had. Apparently it wasn't fair to disturb the neighbours with the spare key as they'd be having tea at that time! hmm This happened (or something similar-like something broken, a lightbulb needing changing type level) 1-3 days before our family holiday every year without fail.

When she died it was even two days before we went away. She finally had her wish, she disrupted half the holiday. Made us chuckle through the tears, when it was pointed out to us.
I don't expect she did it deliberately (especially the last time!) perhaps more she was feeling vunerable as we were pretty non-contactable when away (no mobiles back then) and although df phoned every other day, she couldn't pick up the phone and get him as she could usually. Not that she did that very often except at that time of year.

Funny thing was in a real crisis she was quite resourceful and independent.

gingeroots Tue 16-Dec-14 18:44:52

emptywinebox - some good advice on here .
And you sound as though you're dealing very kindly with a difficult person .

Oh I can't abide the 'not wanting to be any trouble' brigade, they can turn the simplest decision into a need for repeated validation

oh wow muminscotland well put ! Your whole post puts into words my feelings about someone I have in my life .

ShowYourVeracity Tue 16-Dec-14 19:14:58

I think this event related health worrying is not uncommon and I looking back I realise that many of my "health scares" have been related to major life events - moving house, finishing a course, holidays (holidays not really major I know but I get very stressed before going away on holiday grin). Now I can see the pattern I find it easier to stop myself, and perhaps recognising the pattern in your mum will help you feel more in control, and feel less dragged in to the whole thing.

I don't think you should worry about your mum. It sounds like her perspective is somewhat askew and it's a pretty routine investigation. If it turns out she does need your help and support after the test, whether you have had a fun and relaxed Christmas with your family or whether you have spent it worrying about her will not make any difference to the outcome of her tests.

HenriettaTurkey Tue 16-Dec-14 19:21:27

Golly she sounds like my mum!

I totally agree with the poster who said be kind, but don't pander to it (or words to that effect). I don't know if it's deliberate, or not but it does sounds as though the timing is no coincidence.

Enjoy your Christmas and be there for her when she really is ill...

KatieKaye Tue 16-Dec-14 19:28:11

Re the test for bowel cancer: would this be the test they send out through the post to folk over 50 as part of a general health initiative? I got one, and it's not targeted at folk with pre existing conditions or anything like that. So she could just be making it sound more dramatic than it was.

Anyway, just put it out of your head until you get actual news. A one-off with no recurrence isn't likely to be something to worry about.

emptywinebox Tue 16-Dec-14 19:57:57

Please can I give you all a big virtual hug << >>

You've made me feel normal. I could easily shed a tear of relief right now.

I was so worried (again) that I was being an uncaring bitch and just reading things into a situation. It's just so reassuring to know that others are or have experienced the same, that people can see that she isn't easy to deal with and that not everyone id reading my posts and thinking I'm a cow.

You've offered some great advise too. Thank you again.

allypally999 Wed 17-Dec-14 09:59:00

She sounds just like my Mum. I well remember the "heart attack" the day before we flew off to Spain one year. The surgeon advised us to go in front of her - she wasn't impressed haha! There was nothing wrong obviously (nor was there the day of the ambulance on Xmas Day - or any of the other 999 calls).

I stopped telling her when we were going on hols and don't visit just before Xmas but after. She is too doolally now to call so we are finally safe!

I have given up trying to explain my Mum to anyone - I just say she is nuts now.

NewEraNewMindset Wed 17-Dec-14 10:09:12

This reminds me of a NYE spent in A&E because my Dad decided he was having a heart attack (panic attack was the eventual diagnosis). He cried wolf so many times that my Mother and I would tell him we were about to ring 999, did he want us to? After the first time we did, as above he generally said no until his health genuinely did get seriously bad but that's another thread.

You have my sympathies. Dreadful situation all around. I think much of the time elderly relatives are not trying to be unpleasantly manipulative, a lot of their behaviour comes from fear, and until we get to the same stage in life I think it's difficult to be too scathing about it.

Pippinlongsocks Wed 17-Dec-14 13:29:17

I totally sympathise. This could be my mother. When she did really have something wrong with her I found it almost impossible to react. It was a very strange feeling, as if I was totally numb to it. I literally couldn't feel anything. It's attention seeking behaviour that if you have always been on the receiving end of it eventually your patience runs out. That has happened to me now, even though she has been seriously ill. I think it was as you said a certain excitement at having something which we all had to sit up and take notice of. I don't know what the answer is but it helps to try to remain objective and not get bogged down by it all. As the only girl in the family I do get subjected to more of this stuff then my brothers. Even they see it.

emeline Wed 17-Dec-14 13:33:54

Masterly passive aggressiveness and attention seeking of the most underhand kind! Exhausting.

Poor you, OP! I hope you can emotionally detach.

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